The Biggest '90s Reality TV Show Stars, Then and Now
From Real World roommates to late-night dating show hosts.
It was an era before The Bachelor, pre-American Idol, and when The Masked Singer was barely a twinkle in anyone's eye. But in its own way, the '90s left a major mark on reality TV. After all, it was the decade when the grandaddy of the whole genre, MTV's The Real World, first cast seven strangers to live together and have their lives taped to find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real. It also gave us courtroom reality to fill our days and semi-raunchy dating shows we were embarrassed to say we watched. To honor this decade's impact on the genre, we're looking at the biggest reality TV stars of the '90s, then and now. And to see what the heartthrobs from your favorite dramas and comedies are doing in 2020, check out The Biggest '90s TV Teen Idols, Then and Now.
Jenny McCarthy: Then
After being named Playboy's Playmate of the Year, Jenny McCarthy was cast as one of the hosts of MTV's dating show Singled Out alongside Chris Hardwick.
For more young stars' small-screen evolutions, check out The Biggest Disney Channel Stars, Then and Now.
Jenny McCarthy: Now
In 2020, McCarthy is still immersed in reality (or surreality?) TV as one of the judges of The Masked Singer. She's married to New Kid on the Block Donnie Wahlberg and has been criticized for her controversial stance on vaccinating children.
Bob Saget: Then
Standup comic Bob Saget had been playing single dad Danny Tanner on Full House for a couple of seasons already when he took on another job: hosting America's Funniest Home Videos, the show that gave regular people the chance to win cash with footage of painful home accidents.
For shows that have aged faster than you thought, check out 30 Beloved TV Shows You Won't Believe Are 30 Years Old.
Bob Saget: Now
Saget reprised his sitcom role for the Full House Netflix revival series, Fuller House, whose final season premiered this summer. In 2020, he also launched a new podcast called Bob Saget's Here for You.
Roger Lodge: Then
An actor, host, and commentator, Roger Lodge was the emcee of the addictive dating reality show Blind Date.
For stars who made the most out of the reality game, check out The 30 Most Successful Reality TV Personalities of the Last 30 Years.
Roger Lodge: Now
These days, Lodge primarily uses his recognizable voice to talk sports. He's the host of The Sports Lodge on AM830 in Los Angeles, bringing "his unbridled energy and passion for the Los Angeles Angels and all Southern California sports to the afternoon broadcast," according to the official site.
Tami Roman: Then
Tami Roman was one of the roommates on the second season of MTV's The Real World. You may remember her best for the incident in which another of the Los Angeles cast members, David Edwards, tried to pull bedding off of her while she was in her underwear, which he claimed was a joke.
Tami Roman: Now
Roman has acted and also continued to build a career in reality TV. Most notably, she was one of the longest-serving members of VH1's Basketball Wives. She also has an Instagram series called The Bonnet Chronicles, which she created.
Pam Ling and Judd Winick: Then
The Real World: San Francisco, AKA Season 3 of the groundbreaking MTV reality show, may be the one most '90s kids remember best, thanks to cast members like the late Pedro Zamora, the show's first roommate living with AIDS, and bike messenger David "Puck" Rainey, who got himself kicked out of the house. Meanwhile, though their relationship didn't become romantic in the house, med student Pam Ling and cartoonist Judd Winick later shared with fans that they'd fallen in love.
For more nostalgia sent right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Pam Ling and Judd Winick: Now
The Real World alumi have been married for 19 years and have two children. Winick is an established comic book artist and writer, while Ling is an internist at University of California San Francisco Health.
Dave Holmes: Then
Dave Holmes famously came in second to Jesse Camp on MTV's Wanna Be a VJ contest. Despite not taking the crown, he became a fixture on the network, hosting Say What? Karaoke and 120 Minutes, among other shows.
Dave Holmes: Now
Judge Judy Sheindlin: Then
Ever since 1996, Judge Judy's own Judge Judy Sheindlin has had daytime audiences enraptured by her epic eye rolls and sarcastic take downs as she presides over real small claims court cases.
Judge Judy Sheindlin: Now
Judge Judy is still on the air. In March of this year, Sheindlin announced that this 25th season will be the last, but she'll be back with a new courtroom show called Judy Justice almost immediately after. According to Variety, the format will be familiar to Judge Judy fans, but the show will likely go to a streaming service, not a network. In 2019, she was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Daytime Emmys.
Judge Joe Brown: Then
While Judge Joe Brown didn't have the staying power of Judge Judy, its 1998-2013 run isn't anything to sneeze at.
Judge Joe Brown: Now
Joe Brown hasn't been in the spotlight much for the last few years. In 2014, he lost the general election for district attorney of Shelby County, Tennessee, and in 2015, he spent five days in jail after being charged with contempt of court after a courtroom argument allegedly got heated.
Jacinda Barrett: Then
Jacinda Barrett, an Australian aspiring actor and model, appeared on the first Real World season filmed abroad, The Real World: London.
Jacinda Barrett: Now
Barrett successfully launched a Hollywood career after leaving the Real World flat. Her most recent TV role was that of Diana Rayburn, the wife of Kyle Chandler's character, on the Netflix family drama Bloodline. She's been married to Suits star Gabriel Macht for 14 years, and the couple has two children.
Irene McGee: Then
Irene McGee didn't finish out the season when she was on The Real World: Seattle, and she was notoriously slapped by another roommate, Stephen Williams, while she was literally in the car that would take her away from the house. She's since spoken out about why she left the show, calling the environment "toxic" and full of manipulation in a piece for Vulture.
Irene McGee: Now
McGee has continued to shed light on her experience with reality TV in various ways, including through a one-woman show. She also has a YouTube channel and is involved with organizations that raise funds and awareness of Lyme Disease, which she revealed on the show that she was diagnosed with.
Teck Holmes: Then
Teck Holmes was one of the most charismatic and ambitious housemates on The Real World: Hawaii, which says a lot for a season that kicked off with three cast members skinny-dipping.
Teck Holmes: Now
Holmes is an actor and producer with an active social media presence. His standout post-Real World role is still 2002's Van Wilder, where he acted opposite Ryan Reynolds.
Mark Long and Kit Hoover: Then
Mark Long and Kit Hoover were the will-they-won't-they couple of the first season of Road Rules (basically, "what if The Real World was in a camper van?"), which premiered on MTV in 1995.
Mark Long and Kit Hoover: Now
The two former cast members are still friends and work together occasionally. Hoover began a broadcast career after Road Rules and has been a cohost of Access Live since 2010. Long returned to MTV for several iterations of The Challenge, the physical competition show that pits former Road Rules and Real World cast members against each other. He dropped by Access Live in February to reunite with Hoover again earlier in 2020.